Abstract ID: 3588

Primary Topic: Integrative medicine delivery models
Secondary Topic: Interprofessional education

A collaborative model for delivering acupuncture services as part of oncology supportive care in a community cancer center - a clinical and educational partnership
Alexandra York, M.S., CHWC, Maryland University of Integrative Health, Laurel, MD, United States; Patsy L Astarita, LCSW, OSW-C, Upper Chesapeake Health, Bel Air , MD, United States

Late Breaker: No


In 2015 the Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) and the University of Maryland, Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, Kaufman Cancer Center (KCC) entered into a partnership to deliver an integrative medicine model in a community cancer center.  Through the vision of a shared board member, who recognized alignment in mission and values, an opportunity to meet mutual needs was identified.  The KCC was looking to grow their integrative medicine program and MUIH was seeking integrative clinical experiences for their doctoral acupuncture students.

This proposed symposia will tell the story of this partnership utilizing a marriage metaphor (courting, engagement, marriage, marriage counseling, recommitment, flourishing and growth) in which we share the processes for establishing a partnership, program development, teaching clinic development, implementation, challenges and opportunities, lessons learned, and future work.  More specifically this symposia will highlight how KCC and MUIH’s mutual engagement has transformed each organization at many levels.  Additionally this symposia will engage attendees in creative thinking about the available resources in their settings and community which could be utilized to deliver integrative care in such partnership.   The presenters will provide a scenario and invite the attendees to breakout into groups to think through all the aspects of implementing an integrative medicine model.


This innovative model is taking place in a community-based setting where the majority of patients receive cancer care.   A large academic teaching institution or major cancer center is not required to enhance cancer treatment and deliver an integrative medicine model.  This model spotlights true collaboration and integrative care.

In doing so, the following needs are met for the institutions involved:

For KCC:

  • an opportunity to provide enhanced, supportive care service to cancer patients and their caregivers
  • to provide additional tools for symptom management readily available to cancer patients
  • to provide acupuncture safely with the approval of a treating physician being mindful of the special needs of this at-risk population


  • to provide a rich learning environment where doctoral students are learning about oncology treatments, how to modify their treatment plans, and developing an understanding of the operations of a traditional medical setting
  • preparing students for communicating and collaborating with conventional, medical providers
  • through the experiences and lessons learned at the KCC Clinic, MUIH is enhancing the delivery of care at their Natural Care Center (student-based clinic at the University) through continuious improvement and additonal rigor

This symposia will demonstrate the exact theme of this conference - collaboration in action.  Both MUIH and KCC have advanced their clinical practices and MUIH has enhanced its educational programming through this collaboration.


Participants will:

  • Gain knowledge and tools for how to implement a similar model or strategy to delivery care in their own community through collaborative partnership
  • Understand important factors which should be considered in collaborative partnership while trying to create a customized model of integrative care in their personal settings and communities
  • Learn about barriers and challenges which may be encountered through this process
  • Receive a call to action to consider developing a model that may work for them and begin to think about how to apply all of the above

Methods/Session Format

Each speaker will present for 20 minutes alternating as the story of the model is presented.  This will be followed by an interactive exercise in which participants will engage in pair or small groups to answer questions on how to use some aspects of this model in their current setting or potential partnership for creating an integrative model for delivery of care.


Using marriage as a metaphor, each phase of the development and implementation process of the integrative model will be presented along with an overview of the structure and function of the student-based acupuncture clinic. The following the questions and topics will be address:

  • Why this was brought to our institutions?
  • How was it started?
  • Who were the stakeholders with this project?
  • What were the challenges/stumbling blocks you encountered?
  • Were there any financial issues/stumbling blocks?
  • What did we learn?
  • How was time managed?
  • Allocation of time between institutions – did one do more work?
  • Sharing of resources and tools that have come out of the process.
  • Communication considerations.
  • Program evaluation
  • Future considerations